Another year of the pandemic, another year of doomscrolling on the internet.
In a digital world where our feeds were chock-full of vaccine information and new COVID variants, thanks, Twitter, for providing some comedic relief.
Behold the best 21 memes of 2021.
1. Bernie Sanders’ mittens
January seems so long ago, but we haven’t forgotten about “Cold Bernie.”
Donning sustainable mittens made by recycled wool, Sanders, grouchily relaxing at the inauguration of President Joe Biden, took the internet by storm. “This could’ve been an email,” one widely-shared meme stated.
Some people even photoshopped him into historical paintings and photos.
2. How it started vs. how its going
This year did not start well, but how is it going now? Twitter users shared their break-ups, highs, lows and personal growth online, but not without a few laughs.
It was also used to share some of the best sitcom moments, like the beginning and end of “Friends,” or when “The Office” star Brian Baumgartner’s character Kevin spills his famous chili.
3. Red flags
If he doesn’t know this trend, *insert red flag emoji here.*
This fall, Twitter drowned in a sea of red flags, with people posting their ultimate deal-breakers and turnoffs online, helping others steer clear of Mr. Wrong.
Red flags don’t just pop up when you’re looking for “the one.” It can be something you notice upon first meeting someone, and it can make you say, “Uh oh.”
Even major companies like Pepsi and Netflix chimed in on the fun.
4. Bones Day
Bones or no bones, that is the question.
When Noodles, the TikTok famous pug, wakes up every morning, his owner Jonathan Graziano checks if the elderly furbaby can stand on his own. If he can, it’s a Bones Day, meaning we are all about to have a very good day. If he can’t, it’s a No Bones Day — so prepare for the worst.
Of course, the adorable pet’s morning routine quickly became a cultural moment, with everyone tuning in to check the daily forecast. “Sorry professor it’s a no bones day so I legally can’t do anything today,” tweeted one person.
5. RIP ___, they would have loved ___
“RIP Oedipus, I know he would have loved ‘yo mama’ jokes,” tweeted one online comedian.
The viral — and slightly morbid — Twitter trend jokes about how deceased, legendary social figures would have loved (or hated) contemporary culture.
Like Icarus loving sunscreen, or Joan of Arc loving Lorde, people got creative with their tweets of homage.
“RIP Edgar Allen Poe. I know he would’ve loved ‘That’s So Raven,’” one wrote.
“RIP Picasso, he would’ve LOVED Microsoft paint,” added another.
6. Ted Cruz peacing out to Cancun
But when Congress needed him most, he vanished — to Mexico.
In the midst of a Texan crisis, Senator Ted Cruz decided he needed to relieve some stress in Cancun. While he escaped the U.S. for a moment, he couldn’t run from the memes.
While some people joked about his absence, others photoshopped his airport escapade into various, and humorous, situations.
7. The Weeknd’s SuperBowl Show
The lights from the Weeknd’s SuperBowl Halftime Show were, well, blinding.
The video footage created a swirling vortex of warm-colored bulbs and a blurred image of the singer’s face during his high-energy performance — and the internet ran with it.
With screengrabs mimicking something like the spins, the Twitterverse was quick to their keyboards to make now-viral jokes using stills from the live stream.
8. Jake Gyllenhaal (Taylor’s Version)
“Red (Taylor’s Version)” dropped in November, sending Swifties everywhere into a frenzy — screaming, crying, throwing up.
While reliving the heart-wrenching album fans heard in their youth — but now with a bottle of wine and real heartbreak — it was enough to cause a few mental breakdowns (their version).
Of course, the infamous ex who supposedly inspired the 10-minute version of “All Too Well” — ahem, Jake Gyllenhaal — wasn’t safe from the jokes.
The day that shall not be mentioned: When Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp suddenly went down.
There was panic and chaos — Gen Z couldn’t share what they were vibing to on Instagram stories, and their parents couldn’t post wholesome memes to their timelines.
Thankfully, Twitter was exempt from the outage, becoming a beacon of humorous light amidst the digital turmoil.
10. Happy vs. sad bus passenger
Leave it to the internet to turn an inspirational image into a joke.
Twitter revived a 2013 illustration that was originally meant to mean “looking at the bright side,” using it to brighten up their feeds in a different way (hint: with memes).
11. Suez Canal
Oh, to be a boat trapped in a canal.
The internet loved a big, stuck boat named the Ever Given, which was trapped in March in Egypt’s Suez Canal, one of the busiest waterways in the world. The 242,500-ton ship was lodged diagonally, blocking traffic, due to high winds in the area.
The only way to free it? Many small bulldozers.
Of course, there were photos of the incident and, naturally, Twitter had a field day.
12. Shocked Oprah
There are never too many Oprah reactions to everything, the woman who has an expression for it all.
This time, the comedians of the internet took screengrabs from her tell-all interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry about ditching royal life.
While everyone else was inspired to #AbolishTheMonarchy, Twitter was more interested in meme-ifying Oprah’s best moments of appalment.
13. “Squid Game”
The Korean Netflix series took the world by storm with its adventurous storyline about cash-strapped people duking it out for a grand prize. (Think: “The Hunger Games.”)
But the chaos didn’t stop at viewers’ web browsers. Superfans created merchandise, cryptocurrency, Halloween costumes and decked out their homes in support of the show.
With all the hubbub, of course, came the jokes, creating a sliver of humor in the dismal and violent series.
14. Pete Davidson’s BDE
One look at Davidson and we know what you’re thinking: “Kim, him?”
But let us explain, he’s got big d-k energy — and women out of his league can’t get enough. Apparently, neither can the internet.
When rumors sparked that the Kardashian mogul and the “Saturday Night Live” comedian might be romantically intertwined, an onslaught of reactions flooded Twitter timelines everywhere.
15. When the stimulus check hit
If Twitter comedians aren’t posting self-deprecating jokes, then they’re cracking ones about being broke. But it all changed when President Joe Biden announced more stimulus checks.
When that $1,400 hit their bank accounts, everyone was feeling cash-rich. With that air of bank account confidence came a wealth of jokes on everyone’s feed.
“direct deposit: $1400 me at chick-fil-a on sunday: open it,” wrote one jokester.
“Bank account: $1400 Me at Legal Sea Foods: Please show me the illegal seafood,” chimed in another.
This fad is typically used on Twitter to describe a couple that is the most unlikely pairing. Example: “Stock market BF and astrology girl GF.”
It all started when we had the unfortunate experience of witnessing Reddit trolls use GameStop stock to usurp hedge funds, in what was perhaps the funniest and unpredictable stock market tomfoolery ever.
Of course, with meme stocks also comes memes — as does anything that spawns from the depths of the web.
Abraham Lincoln? More like Slay-braham Lincoln.
“Yassification” was certainly the most glamorous meme of 2021, which featured stills from movies, photos of beloved celebrities or images of historical figures decked out in total glam. (Making everyone say, “Yaaas!”)
@YassifyBot started it all, even photoshopping President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to look more like fashion icons than politicians. But as the trend picked up traction, the more absurd the transformations got.
18. Anti-sex Olympic beds
Under the explanation that the cardboard beds were for “sustainability” purposes, the weight limit to only “one person” made people think otherwise.
Despite being debunked by an Olympian at the games, the cots were dubbed the “anti-sex” beds at the Tokyo Olympics this year, and quickly became the butt of the internet jokes.
19. Unvaccinated Aaron Rodgers
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers made headlines when he contracted COVID-19 while unvaccinated last month. He claimed he was “immunized” because he already caught the illness, later apologizing to the public for misleading them.
However, he wasn’t immune to the jokes that circulated online.
He didn’t do himself any favors by boasting his fractured toe during a press conference, sparking rumors that the injury was due to COVID-19.
20. The Delta variant
With the news of Omicron, memories of Delta are quickly fleeting. But don’t worry, the memes are still applicable.
Delta, the Omicron variant’s older sibling, spoiled everyone’s hot girl summers, upending vacations and get-togethers, even ruining fall plans as the surge pressed on.
Thank god for Twitter, bringing some chuckles to an otherwise dismal outlook as the pandemic ravaged on.
21. Don’t worry about what’s in the vaccine
If you’ve ever eaten a New Jersey bagel, don’t worry about what’s in the vaccine.
Twitter poked fun at vaccine skepticism by debunking anti-vaccine fears — saying public playgrounds, using porta-potties and eating faux cheese are more suspicious than the ingredients of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“if your mom let you play on the jungle gym inside a McDonald’s don’t worry about what’s in the vaccine,” one meme declared.
“If you’ve ever used the same sponge to wash your dishes for more than a few days, don’t worry about what’s in the vaccine,” added another.
- 1 1. Bernie Sanders’ mittens
- 2 2. How it started vs. how its going
- 3 3. Red flags
- 4 4. Bones Day
- 5 5. RIP ___, they would have loved ___
- 6 6. Ted Cruz peacing out to Cancun
- 7 7. The Weeknd’s SuperBowl Show
- 8 8. Jake Gyllenhaal (Taylor’s Version)
- 9 9. When social media just… stopped.
- 10 10. Happy vs. sad bus passenger
- 11 11. Suez Canal
- 12 12. Shocked Oprah
- 13 13. “Squid Game”
- 14 14. Pete Davidson’s BDE
- 15 15. When the stimulus check hit
- 16 16. BF/GF
- 17 17. Yassification
- 18 18. Anti-sex Olympic beds
- 19 19. Unvaccinated Aaron Rodgers
- 20 20. The Delta variant
- 21 21. Don’t worry about what’s in the vaccine